All businesses strive to be more profitable. Marketing is usually one of the first areas to see budget cuts. External vendors are a particular target for a business’ budget reductions. However, many business owners only consider the spend and not the value. They look at the option of hiring an internal resource as being a better spend than outsourcing their web presence efforts. But how should you assess whether you have the right expertise and what the impact will be on your business?
As marketing consultants, we have seen clients come and go. Business requirements are always changing and sometimes people need more or less of our support. For those clients that have decided to bring their web presence management in-house, we have helped them make that decision. But sometimes when we are not part of the decision-making process, we walk away from a great relationship knowing they are not ready. When this happens, we are concerned about the long-term impact on their business because we understand that they just don’t have the expertise yet to “go it alone”.
So, before you in-house or out-source, consider this:
1. Do you have the technical expertise you need?
There is a very good reason that web shops and agencies exist and thrive. They can harness the power of teams of people who are dedicated to their craft – whether they are technical experts, execution specialists, or design gurus. They have spent years training in their fields and know the ins and outs of good online practices. They are also seeing best practices across many businesses and don’t just exist within the silo of one platform or strategy. You may have a person internally dedicated to your web presence strategy, but often they are a “jack of all trades” who doesn’t have the specific technical, design, creative and execution skills you need to maintain a successful web presence for your business. One way to know for sure is to create an inventory of the online tools you use and make sure they are well-versed in these tools. They may have more questions than answers about your current platform and this will cause many issues down the road as you try to get them trained up to operate these tools properly. Your core business is likely not being WordPress or email marketing experts, so don’t expect one individual to take on the work of many.
2. Do you have the web presence strategic expertise to do it successfully?
Most marketing consultants and agencies have teams of highly experienced people. The really good marketing resources are able to dig out your business goals and use their experience to drive a marketing strategy to accomplish those goals. They are able to do this because they have tested different tactics and strategies a multitude of times and have a strong understanding of what will work in what situation. For example, at Marketing CoPilot, we describe ourselves as “expert testers” in the areas of keyword strategy, value proposition development, content development, SEO, Google Analytics and much more. It took our team over 100 years of marketing experience to garner this distinction. Will your internal resources be able to deliver to that level? Or are you okay with “good enough”?
3. Do you have dedicated internal resources to stay on top industry changes and how they impact your web presence?
Being dedicated to the online marketing industry is crucial to successfully implement marketing strategy and tactics. A best-in-class online marketing consultant lives and breathes social media, organic search, Google Adwords, content marketing, etc. We subscribe to 50 blogs, emails and RSS feeds about updates in the industry and we read every single one. The changes in this industry are so frequent and unexpected and can change the entire course of your web presence strategy overnight. Can you, as a company, stay on top of them and stay ahead of the curve?
4. If you already have limited time and money for marketing, does it make sense to build up resources in web presence vs. your core business?
Simply put… shouldn’t your team be focusing on your core business? Do you want to become online experts? Your focus should be on product development, business efficiencies, customer service, etc. – all in the name of driving profitability for your company.
5. Do you really know the cost to your business of bringing your online marketing in-house?
- How much will it cost you if you bring it in-house but still need to outsource small pieces and projects like design work, coding, site re-designs, content writers, editors, etc.?
- How much of your internal resources’ time will actually be dedicated to working on your online marketing efforts (for example 20% of their time)? Is that really enough investment?
- How much more time will your internal resources take to complete initiatives? Given their skill set, they will likely struggle in some areas and could take 5 or 10 times as long to complete a task than it really should.
- With limited skill set and expertise in-house, what are you losing in terms of strategy and implementation?
Business owners can successfully bring their online marketing in-house if they understand the total investment.
We are happy when our clients jump on-board the web presence train with us. They have seen success and see the value of investing in the process. In some cases, the next step for them is to invest further by bringing it in-house.Â But without careful consideration, this could be a misstep that unravels the very success that they set out to achieve if they are not realistic about the true cost and effort to bring the program in-house.
To assess whether your business is ready to bring your web presence strategy and implementation in-house, download the In-House Online Marketing Assessment.